NEW ORLEANS -- Sorry to dampen the Labor Day enthusiasm in Who Dat Nation (it's in my DNA, I guess) but the current 53-man roster just does not "Wow'' me.
If the 2013 New Orleans Saints are to make the postseason and make a deep run in the playoffs, the burden once again will fall on Drew Brees and the offense to carry the load. No surprise there. They've done it before and perhaps they can do it again.
Now the bad news: Regardless of how one looks at it, first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan somehow will have to convert water into wine for this team to meets its objective, no matter how the numbers stack up -- 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, '46', whatever.
Consider: Of the three OLBs on the 53-man roster, none has played a down of exhibition football for the Saints this preseason. Not Martez Wilson, not Junior Galette, nor the newly-acquired Parys Haralson. That perhaps is a NFL first.
That said, look for Saints officials to continue tweaking the roster, possibly adding a veteran player or two on defense in the coming days and into next week.
As of now, the 2013 Saints might be younger, faster and stronger but I'm not sure if the Mod Squad is ready to compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Here are my snap observations:
QB: Drew Brees. Enough said. Cool Hand Luke McCown is a solid backup.
WR: Veteran Marques Colston and Lance Moore need to stay healthy because the three remaining wideouts have zero NFL catches - Nick Toon, rookie Kenny Stills and Andy Tanner.
RB: Three of the five kept players were not drafted -- Pierre Thomas, Travaris Cadet and Khiry Robinson. Kudos to the Saints' scouting department for mining these gems. But this only proves my point: There was no reason to broker a deal with New England and move into the first round to take Mark Ingram at No. 28 in 2011 when that pick could have filled a more glaring need on defense. Yes, Ingram is a solid back when healthy but he is a role player, especially in the way Sean Payton calls a game with so many different formations and packages.
OL: The three reserves have combined to start one NFL game and that start by T Bryce Harris lasted 11 minutes against San Francisco in 2012. Rookie T Terron Armstead and C/G Tim Lelito are young, eager and have potential but there is no NFL experience behind the starters. Oft-injured LT Charles Brown survived camp in one piece. Saints fans should keep their fingers crossed.
TE: Jimmy Graham (who essentially doubles as a WR in Payton's playbook) and Ben Watson provide a formidable 1-2 punch and undrafted rookie Josh Hill shows promise.
DL: A healthy Kenyon Coleman obviously would have upgraded this position, but overall, it's a pretty solid group led by DEs Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks. Good depth from end to end.
LB: Ditto with Victor Butler who starts the season on Reserve/PUP. More questions in this area than any other on the roster because of the health status of Martez Wilson (elbow), Junior Galette (knee) and Jonathan Vilma (knee). Let the games begin with the league injury report. All probably will be listed as questionable for Atlanta. Newcomer Parys Haralson needs to be the player that played well several years ago in San Francisco. Curtis Lofton is Mr. Consistent. David Hawthorne and Ramon Humber are solid backups and can start if needed.
DB: If CB Keenan Lewis is going to draw the opponent's best receiver, he better pick his game up a notch or two based on what I saw during the preseason. Of all the new faces on this team, I am most impressed by top pick, safety Kenny Vaccaro, who has a chance to contribute right away.
Foot Specialists: This area is on solid footing with P Thomas Morstead and K Garrett Hartley and long snapper Justin Drescher.
Finally, I'm glad that the training camps turned in by RB Khiry Robinson and WR Andy Tanner were rewarded.
And to all Saints fans, mine merely is meant as a voice of reason, not a voice of treason.
Until we meet again!
|< Prev||Next >|